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Print order for Missile Man's book skyrockets amid Mamata backing

Nivedita Mookerji  |  New Delhi 

The print order for former President A P J Abdul Kalam’s yet to be released book ‘Turning Points — A Journey Through Challenges’, a sequel to his earlier work, ‘Wings of Fire’, is being stepped up to 50,000 copies from 30,000 earlier. Publisher Harper Collins decided to raise the number when Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee named Kalam as the party’s top presidential choice, pitching him against UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee, a company executive confirmed.

Slated to hit the market later this month, ‘Turning Points’ is priced at Rs 199 and seen as a bestseller even before its launch because of its topicality and all the controversy the race to Raisina Hill has generated. The book about Kalam’s stint in Rashtrapati Bhavan, with details of his meetings with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other political leaders on many occasions, is already being pre-sold by online retailers at a 30-40 per cent discount. Kalam’s ‘Wings of Fire’, published by Universities Press, has crossed the one-million mark in English and vernacular languages since its release in 1999. It is one of the non-fiction works that took the Indian market by storm. ‘Ignited Minds’, also by Kalam, is referred to as one of the “crown jewels” of Penguin Books India. “It has sold many thousands, year after year,” according to a company official.

“There may be various contributory factors like pricing, positioning, topicality, a prize, a trend, a big brand, marketing, etc for a book’s success,” pointed out a senior executive at Hachette India, a publishing house.

Figuring in the top list of recent non-fiction successes is ‘Breakout Nations’ by Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley’s head of emerging market equities. The book on emerging nations, priced at Rs 599, is being termed a runaway success for the pace at which it is selling. Penguin Books India, the publisher, says ‘Breakout Nations’ has sold 35,000 copies in India in just seven weeks. According to Nagaraj Krishnan, products head at Penguin India, around 45,000 copies of the book have been published in four print runs. It crossed Chetan Bhagat’s hot-selling fiction book ‘Revolution 2020’ during the last week of April, said Penguin. Over the next few months, the publisher is targeting 50,000 copies.

Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani’s ‘Imagining India’ has sold around 60,000 copies since its launch in late 2008, according to Penguin. Infosys co-founder

N R Narayana Murthy’s ‘A Better India: A Better World’ has done lifetime sales of 42,000 since its release in April 2009. Writer and former Procter & Gamble India CEO Gurcharan Das’ ‘The Difficulty of Being Good’, also from Penguin, is another success, with a sale of 60,000 copies since its 2010 release.

Hachette India looks at ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson, launched on October 21, 2011, at a price of Rs 899, as its biggest recent success. The biography of the late Apple co-founder, released after his death, sold 100,000 copies within three months.

A book qualifies as a best-seller in India by selling 10,000 copies during a short span. Publishers say the comparable number would be at least 40,000 in the UK and 70,000-80,000 in the US.

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First Published: Mon, June 18 2012. 00:27 IST